Geology Major

As a geology major, you will learn to apply the principles of all the sciences to the study of the Earth. The geology major focuses on a range of fundamental earth systems, including the study of rocks and minerals, rock-forming processes, sedimentary relationships, rock deformation and field methods in the geosciences. These studies may emphasize geologic exploration, which uses various approaches in the search for petroleum, natural gas, mineral deposits and groundwater resources. Geology graduates will have the skills to address issues ranging from geologic hazards to issues of pollution, both local and global. With a degree in geology, students can choose a discipline within the geosciences to study in a master's or doctoral program.

You should major in geology if...

  • You are fascinated by, and skilled in, a broad range of science as well as mathematics.
  • You are interested in groundwater, petroleum or materials exploration.
  • You are interested in deep Earth  and/or extra-terrestrial planetary exploration.
  • You are considering going on to graduate-level studies in geosciences.

Program overview

The geology major will train you in the broad spectrum of the geosciences, as well as in the fundamentals of mathematics, chemistry, physics and biology that form the basis for the scientific study of the Earth. After completing the required foundation courses, you may choose electives to suit your specific areas of interest. For example, you will have the opportunity to study various areas, from hydrogeology to remote sensing.

  • Program requirements: To learn more about specific program requirements, consult the 2021-22 undergraduate catalog.
  • Course listings: To see which courses will be offered when, check out the WMU course listings. You can also read course descriptions for geological and environmental sciences classes here.
  • Professional development: Students in the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences are encouraged to gain valuable professional, research and field experience through joining our highly active student organizations: Geology Club, Student Chapter of American Institute for Professional Geologists, Student Chapter of American Associate of Petroleum Geologists and the Student Chapter of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists.


Employment options for holders of a bachelor's in geology include employment in the petroleum industry during boom years. Entry-level positions in the environmental assessment industry are also possible. Graduates are well-prepared for graduate work in either physics or geosciences. Once a master's-level degree is obtained, many jobs open up. Environmental firms and petroleum exploration firms are likely employers. Government employment at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration or the U.S. Geological Survey is possible. For students with master's or doctoral degrees, employment  in similar state agencies around the country are available.  For more career information, contact faculty advisor, Dr. Duane Hampton (listed below) and visit the Career Guidance and Alumni Spotlight pages.

Our students

  • Meet our students:Watch video interviews featuring undergraduate and graduate students from a wide variety of personal and educational backgrounds discussing their experiences in the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences.
  • Recent student achievements:Read about the accomplishments of our current students.
  • Alumni spotlight: Read about where our students find careers after graduating.

Associated faculty

  • Faculty directory: Learn about our faculty members' professional and academic backgrounds, their teaching and research interests and publishing history.
  • Faculty and staff research specialties: Learn about each faculty and staff members' unique research interests (links to laboratories are also provided here).

Graduate study options

  • Accelerated Master of Science in earth science: The accelerated graduate degree program allows undergraduate students to begin accumulating credits toward the completion of a Master of Science in earth science degree while completing this bachelor's degree.
  • Graduate programs: The Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences offers three graduate degree programs (M.S. in earth sciences (non-thesis), M.S. in geosciences, Ph.D. in geosciences) and a graduate certificate program in hydrogeology.


The College of Arts and Sciences has a two-tiered advising system for undergraduates. Please consult your departmental and college advisors regularly to ensure that academic requirements are met.

  • Major and minor advising: Unsure which geological and environmental sciences major/minor is right for you? Curious about job opportunities for geology majors? Contact Dr. Duane Hampton, our prospective undergraduate advisor and career advisor, to set up an appointment. Confused about which classes to take, how to enroll in classes or want to know your progress towards graduation? All of these questions can be discussed with your undergraduate faculty advisor, Dr. Michelle Kominz.
  • College of Arts and Sciences advising: Have a question about general education or graduate requirements? Take advantage of CAS undergraduate advising drop-in hours or make an appointment.


What's next?

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